Azerbaijan International

Spring 2005 (13.1)
Pages 67-68

Legends from Azerbaijan

Legend about the Rose
by Sadnik Pirsultanli

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Left: Chirag Castle is believed to date back to the 5th century. Although in serious disrepair, it is one of the bet preserved of Azerbaijan's ancient fortresses.The castle commands a spectacular view of the entire region. Often legends are created to explain some aspect of a castle's construction or history. The castle is located north of Baku on the way to Guba, not far from Siyazan and Davachi.
Photo: John Connor.

Told by Isa Musa oglu, 90, and Yasaman Aliyeva, 78, both from Toghana Village in the Khanlar region. According to this legend, the original name of Kapaz Mountain was Arzu Mountain, which means, "Wish". After an earthquake there, the name of the mountain was changed into Kuhipas Mountain (Burning Mountain). According to ancient Turkic sources, Kapas means bridal crown and, in fact, Kapaz Mountain does look like a bridal crown reflected in Goy Gol Lake.

Once there lived a very rich man who had no children. This made him very sad. A very old, wise man advised him to go to Arzu (Wish) Mountain and ask for a child.

So the man took his wife and went there and pleaded with the mountain to give him a child. After a while, his wife gave birth to a very beautiful girl. They called her Gizil (Gold).

Gizil grew up and with each passing day, she became more and more beautiful.
In the neighboring village, there lived a poor man who had an only son whose name was Bulbul (Nightingale). Bulbul had a charming voice.

Bulbul and Gizil fell in love with each other. Bulbul's voice grew to be even more charming. He asked his father to go and ask for Gizil's hand. But Gizil's father was concerned about what Bulbul did for a living. Bulbul's father replied: "He's a lover. He strengthens the heart with his magnificent songs."

Gizil's father laughed at these words: "Songs are not bread. I won't let my daughter get married to a poor man. If your son wants to marry my daughter, he has to be rich and have a means of earning an income."

Bulbul became sad with this news, but he agreed with the terms set forth by Gizil's father. He said "Goodbye" to Gizil and headed off to a faraway land. Gizil promised to wait for him and not marry anyone else.

Much time passed but no news came about Bulbul. Gizil's father arranged the engagement of Gizil to a wealthy young man. Preparation was being made for her wedding. They even put henna on Gizil's white hands.

In desperation, Gizil made her way to Wish Mountain and with hennaed hands begged the mountain. "Dear Wish Mountain, I was born because you granted my parents' plea. Now I am in mourning, so you must mourn, too."
Wish Mountain understood the girl and caused a fire to consume her village.

All her relatives died in the fire. That made Gizil very sad because she lost both her mother and father. She went again to Wish Mountain and asked it to turn her into a flower that would be a symbol of love. And so the mountain transformed her into a rose that blossomed in the garden of Bulbul's father. Since that time, Gizil had blossomed as white flowers with love to Bulbul.

One day Bulbul returned. He started to look for Gizil but couldn't find her. He became suspicious about the white roses because their fragrance smelled just as Gizil used to smell. That's how Bulbul's relatives came to tell him the story of what had happened to Gizil.

This made Bulbul depressed. He circled several times around the white flowers and then he thrust his sword into his heart. The blood ran down the fresh white blossom petals of the rose dyeing them red. But Bulbul's relatives did not allow Bulbul to kill himself.

Then Bulbul decided to pay a visit to Wish Mountain. He told the mountain: "I have no will to live longer. Turn me into a bird so that I can fly around my lover's head and sing songs forever to her."

And that's how Bulbul's wish came true. He was transformed into a bird with such a sweet gentle voice. Since that time, roses have blossomed with red flowers.

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